VALPARAISO | Weekend or weekday sports warriors participating in many of the Valparaiso parks department's activities will soon be able to get free medical help for bumps, bruises, sprains and strains.
The city's Park Board approved a memorandum of understanding this past week with Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers to set up a tent at certain events, such as the Popcorn Panic, the triathlon and the weekend softball tournaments, to assist participants with injuries.
Parks Director John Seibert said the service is being tried on a trial basis. The service initially will be offered during adult sports, but could trickle down to the youth programs, he said.
"It's mostly for the extended events, like the tournaments and the Popcorn Panic," Seibert said. "There's no cost to us, but there is a cost to them of anywhere from $50 to $100 to rent the space. It is not an exclusive contract. Others could apply to do the same thing."
Seibert compared the company's services to having a trainer available during events. He said events like the Chicago Marathon might have several such companies set up offering help to participants.
ARC personnel will provide an initial evaluation and might do things such as massage cramps, tape a sprain or provide other minor medical services. If physical therapy is recommended, treatment will not be provided without parental consent for minors.
The center will establish an injury recording system for the parks, provide immediate access through a sports medicine hotline or cellphone, and help athletes and their families in scheduling appointments with primary care and/or specialty doctors.
The Chicago company is not affiliated with any local doctors or hospitals and is required to carry both liability and malpractice insurance.